For many of us, there are few better feelings than soaking up some rays. The warm glow of the sun on our skin is guaranteed to boost our mood and can even give us our own enviable glow.
But did you know the sun is the biggest cause of skin damage and ageing?
Luckily, there are different types of light therapy that can mimic the way the sun feels on our skin – plus, with added skincare benefits.
Here, we’ll cover the type of lights you should stay away from, and the ones you need to become familiar with.
Stay away from: UV rays
That’s right. Your Miami beach vacations and sunbed sessions are potentially doing you damage. UV rays are the number one culprit of skin cancer – whether you get them from a sunbed or a day on the coast. But shockingly, only 11% of Americans regularly use sunscreen – and 46% never use it! It’s no wonder that skin cancer is the most common cancer in the States.
As well as the horrifying dangers of skin cancer, UV rays are also the biggest contributor to skin ageing. There’s no better way to illustrate this than the famous photo of the truck driver who never wore SPF and only got sun damage on one side of his face due to his routes exposing the left side more than the right.
Because of all of this, it’s essential that you wear SPF – yes, even on the coldest, cloudiest days. UV rays can penetrate through clouds and damage your skin even in the winter, so it’s non-negotiable if you want to avoid the risk of skin cancer and keep your skin healthy and youthful.
We’re not saying you should never go out in the sun again, but make sure you’re wearing SPF all over, don’t spend too long in the sun on hot days, and bring plenty of cover-ups like hats, kaftans, and sarongs. If you’re missing your golden beach tan, using tanning water is a guaranteed safe way to do it. No need to forego your golden glow to stay safe!
Invest your time in: blue light therapy
If you’ve been a sunbed junkie for years and you’re prepared to give up this damaging habit, blue light therapy is for you. Think of it as the antidote to all the damage that has been caused by sunbathing without SPF or using sunbeds.
Blue light is used to reverse some of the damage caused by UV rays. It can both prevent skin cancer from forming and treat cancerous growths or patches of skin. When combined with a photosynthesizing treatment applied to the skin, it can target and kill off cancer cells. If you’re a reformed sunbather or sunbed user, we recommend talking to your derm about blue light therapy.
As well as these health-saving benefits, blue light therapy also has skincare benefits. If you have large pores and produce a lot of oil, blue light therapy can reduce the size of your sebaceous glands and in turn reduce acne. If all of that isn’t enough, it’s also used to treat depression and is particularly effective when treating seasonal affective disorder (SAD). A true all-rounder.
Get to know: red light therapy
Red light therapy is a treatment that has been around for a long time. This therapy can be used for a range of treatments from psoriasis to acne and premature ageing. It delivers low-level wavelengths of red light to your skin and comes in many different forms. A light therapy facial stimulates the production of collagen and elastin, boosts circulation and accelerates tissue repair.
Red light therapy masks have become popular in recent years as a way to address premature ageing on our faces. Facial red light therapy can also be delivered through handheld devices which are available at your dermatologist or as at-home devices – but be aware that at-home devices may be less effective.
For full-body treatments like soothing psoriasis symptoms or chemotherapy side effects, you can bask in the light of a full booth. If you’re a sunbed junkie seeking that relaxing, warm experience, red light therapy is a much safer treatment – and comes with way more benefits than UV sunbeds.
Whether you live on the sunny west coast or you’re an east-coaster who vacations in the sunshine state, chances are you love basking in the sun. And although there are ways to do this while protecting yourself, it’s a habit that’s not good for your skin or your health. We recommend shunning UV sunbeds in favour of blue or red light therapy booths and reducing your exposure to the sun to keep your skin and your body youthful.